Stone Circle Recreated
This page is to document the recreation of the Stone Circle. (Please keep coming back to be updated on the progress of the Stone Circle's recreation).
Once the platform for the new circle had been created, a visit to it was arranged in June 2017, at which the centrepoint for the structure was fixed and preliminary markers were set up for the four arcs of stones, following the original plan. Linda Lunan took photographs of three of the arcs, but the northwest quadrant was blocked by a high bank which, we were told, would not be removed until after the stones had been re-erected.
It was thought that would happen late in 2017, and I drew up an observing programme for dates up to the end of September, when Linda and I briefly left the country. The weather prevented any observations up till then, and also delayed the contractors. After we came back to Scotland I drew up a contingency plan to calculate the alignments without observations, if necessary, though even a few actual sightings of events would make it all much easier.
In April 2018 Gerry Cassidy and I returned to the site with more accurate bearings for the theoretical alignments, and with the help of surveyors we pinpointed them on the horizon in the three previous arcs, while the temporary posts were moved to mark the cardinal points. Gerry took photographs on each bearing, but the weather was much mistier than forecast. To our surprise the bank in the northwest had been removed and the whole horizon was now clear, so we went back on June 13th to take those pictures. Again the distant horizons were obscured by mist.
On June 28th at last we had a clear evening when we were able to photograph the setting Sun, still close to its solstice declination, and soon afterwards the rising Full Moon, not far from its minor standstill declination. Working up those results with the help of the Interactive Sky Chart on the Heavens-Above website, I found that I could do the same for the various events photographed over the years at the previous site, then transfer the grids to the photos taken from the new one. Frustratingly the exact position of sunset was blocked by the upraised arm of a digger in Gerry’s June 13th photo, so we had to go back once more and took the opportunity to check the new bearings I had calculated meantime. On that last visit on July 19th we finally had a clear sunny day, so Gerry took new photos centred on all the revised bearings, and at the end of an intense month’s work I turned over the finished results to the City Council Planning Department on August 2nd 2018. At that time re-erection was scheduled for November 2018 in hopes to have an event marking the mid Winter Solstice in December 2018.
The next phase was for the contractors to prepare foundations for the stones, but problems developed because in moving the stones from burial to a secure yard near the reconstruction sites, the original numbering had accidentally been lost. After several false starts, Gerry and I went up and re-identified the stones on December 10th. The plans were finalised by late January and re-erection work began on February 13th. By the 22nd the steel frames to hold the stones were assembled on site and the first stone scheduled for re-erection (the one marking the northerly minor standstill moonrise) was in place and ready to be installed.
As of March 1st, ten stones had been re-erected and cemented in. By March 5th the most massive one, the 4.5-tonner marking moonset at furthest south, had been added. The large stone marking minor standstill southerly moonset was to be next, but when we arrived it had just broken as it was being lifted. Fortunately the four remaining spare stones, which have been lying under a tree by the old site since 1979, have been brought to the new site with the rest, and the largest of them was immediately pressed into service. The midwinter sunset stone was added soon after.
By Monday March 11th all 17 stones including the last, the central one, had been raised. Health reasons prevented us from going to inspect it, but Morgan Sindall staff sent me photos of it before cementing in. It now faces in the opposite direction from its orientation at the old site, but that and one or two other stones similarly reversed will make it easy to tell the old from the new in photographs.
On March 13th I took part in a podcast for a station in New York, covering the circle re-erection and also the mediaeval mystery of the Green Children (see ‘Children from the Sky’). The circle’s re-erection had been completed by Thursday 14th and I was able to show them in an update on the circle for Prestwick Rotary Club. Glasgow City Council scheduled a media event for the spring equinox on March 20th, which was the 40th anniversary of the Sighthill stone circle’s completion by Royal Naval helicopter at its original site, and that has generated extensive coverage in the Scottish press as well as the BBC and STV websites, and further afield in England, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.
I’m now confirmed to give a talk about the circle to the Rotary Club of Troon on Tuesday April 16th, and no doubt more will happen meantime. The site will be closed to the public until summer 2020, because it’s still part of a major construction project, but the circle is now clear of supporting girders and can be clearly seen from Pinkstone Road and Baird Street, particularly from the road bridge over the M8 motorway.
New podcast links:
(All words and images are copyrighted. Please contact Duncan Lunan if you wish to use them.)
19th June 2017 - BBC Radio Scotland's "News Drive" Coverage"
To listen to Duncan on BBC Radio Scotland’s “News Drive” on the 19th June 2017 speaking about the recreation of Sighthill Stone Circle please go to:
at marker: 56:08 hrs approx
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All words and images are copyrighted.
Please contact Duncan Lunan if you wish to use them.